Cyprus, a wonderful Mediterranean country, is considered to be an attractive jurisdiction for living, doing business and studying. The country has a number of advantages such as the favourable climate, multicultural environment, high standard of living, etc. It worth noting that Cyprus is a member of the EU since 2004, which guarantees flexibility and convenience in planning business and life in general.
On 19 March, 2014 the Government adopted a decision on the provision to foreign investors the Cyprus citizenship by buying property. The Government of Cyprus has established and revised a "Scheme for Naturalization of non-Cypriot investors by exception", amended in 2016. According to this Program every foreign citizen can acquire Cypriot citizenship by investments of one or more kinds. The quick and simple way to obtain Cypriot citizenship according to the Program involves the acquisition of real estate in the territory of Cyprus.
What are the advantages of acquisition of the real estate in Cyprus under the terms of the Program?
- Acquisition of real estate in the amount of at least €2,000,000 is regarded as an investment in the Cypriot economy and is the main qualifying requirement for participation in the "Citizenship by Investment in Cyprus" Program. On fulfillment of this condition the investor is normally granted citizenship of Cyprus within 6 months. You can find the full list of all the benefits as a national of a EU member country and some aspects and conditions of the citizenship scheme in our previous here: https://www.agplaw.com/cyprus-citizenship-investment-advantages/
- Real estate in Cyprus is in high demand among potential investors due to its high quality, the developed infrastructure and wide choice of building properties. Investors can select properties in every part of the country, depending on the local peculiarities and advantages and its own preferences.
- Prices for real estate in Cyprus are affordable and reasonable, even in the largest cities of Cyprus in comparison with other European countries.
- Investments are reliably protected as investors are allowed to sell a property purchased under terms of the Program after three years have passed (except for personal real estate for the value of at least €500,000, which must be retained on a continuing basis). The prices of buildings are quite stable, and a fall in price is highly improbable due to the constant demand for real estate in Cyprus. In any case the prices are fixed in Euro, so our clients can be confident of preserving their investments on expiry of the minimum term of three years and thereafter.
- The full amount of investments made by an applicant shall belong to him or her. Unlike in certain other countries which offer similar programs, the funds invested in the economy of Cyprus are recoverable by the investor. This advantage makes, without any exaggeration, the Cypriot program a unique program.
- Important amendments to legislation were implemented with respect to tax matters in favour of investors, such as abolishment of immovable property tax from 2017 and tax reliefs with respect to payment of VAT.
Which property is eligible for the participation in the Program?
The Program provides making investments in different ways, the most popular among which is the purchase or construction of buildings or the construction of other land development projects (residential or commercial developments, developments in the tourism sector) or other infrastructure projects.
The investor may invest either in new or secondary (resale) property, at the discretion of the investor. One or several properties may be acquired under the term of the Program.
Land plots are not eligible for the Program unless an investment plan for the development of land is included in the application.
What are the steps of getting citizenship through acquisition of real estate?
Step 1 – Search, examination and selection of the real estate objects for investments with a possibility to perform remotely, i.e. our clients and their family members are not required to visit Cyprus personally to choose preferred properties, as our company provides a full range of respective services. Thereafter, the investor needs to conclude a sales and purchase agreement, transfer money to a deposit account and obtain a receipt which shall be sufficient evidence of investments made under the Program.
Step 2 – Preparation of application. The client is provided with a detailed list of documents and necessary requirements. The applicant shall prepare all the required documents which must be officially translated into Greek or English and apostilled (for those countries which are Contracting parties to the Hague convention of 1961) or stamped with the official seal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and respective embassy.
Step 3 – Preliminary analysis of application package by our specialists. Our lawyers will conduct thorough verification of all documents before their submission.
Step 4 – Submission of applications for the residence permission and for citizenship grant. At this stage, the applicant and the members of his (her) family are required to visit Cyprus to deliver their biometric data. The whole process will take a maximum of 3 days and involves payment of the processing application fee of €2,000 for each applicant. All the required documents (such as the sales and purchase agreement, application, the receipt as confirmation of payment for the item of real property, etc.) shall be submitted to the Ministry of Internal Affairs for consideration.
Step 5 – Approval of application by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Ministry approves the application for granting of citizenship within three months from the date of its submission. At this stage, the applicant is required to pay the Government a fee of €5,000.
Step 6 – The completion of naturalization program and issue of Cypriot passport and identity card. Being on the territory of Cyprus the investor shall allow 1-2 days to obtain the above-mentioned documents. However, this step will require 2 weeks if completed through Cypriot embassies in other countries.
Step 7 – Naturalization of the children and parents of investor. The submission of applications for naturalization of children and parents represents the last phase of the Program. The respective applications for minors are normally determined within 3 weeks, for adult children – within 2-3 months and shall be subject to the payment of a fee of €2,000 at the stage of submission and €5,000 at the stage of the application's approval.
To sum up, Cyprus offers a quick and cost-savings program to obtain citizenship of an EU member country with all the accessible advantages and possibilities for flexible planning of business and a comfortable life on the island or, any other European country, with the whole family. A simple and fast procedure, minimum requirements, the possibility to preserve and recover investments make Cyprus citizenship through investment Program a safe and guaranteed way to obtain the desired citizenship of the EU. Our company is ready to assist our clients in the search, examination and selection of a proper real estate object, preparation of the list of necessary documents and its submission, to provide support in complying with all the prescribed requirements and consult clients with regard to all substantial aspects of the Program.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.